‘Good morning, Gary.’
Gary turned around to see Suzy coming out of her apartment. ‘Good morning, Suzy. Did you sleep well?’
She looked down a little. ‘Ehm, I, don’t really like thunderstorms.’ she said, then gave him a grin. ‘It’s silly, I know.’
‘Oh, I can imagine.’ he said. ‘She was pretty spooked too.’
‘Ah.’ he said. ‘A.., woman I saw last evening. At the store.’
‘Oh.’ she said. ‘I thought the store wasn’t open that late?’
‘It wasn’t.’ he said. ‘It was when it was still open. She mentioned she didn’t like lightning and thunder. And she already looked nervous and all. Like a puppy. Not that I mean she was a puppy, just that she was skittish.’
Suzy nodded. ‘Okay..’ she said. ‘I’ll see you later again.’
‘Yeah.’ he said. ‘Later.’
He watched her walk away for a moment, then went on his way with a feeling in the back of his head that he had missed something.
A thunderstorm had started just before Gary finished his meeting with a client who wanted to update the logo and look of her hair studio. He watched the sky and the street as people rushed home, pondering whether to wait it out or hurry home through the rain.
The rain hadn’t lessened after a minute and he prepared to become very wet on his way home when he saw Suzy walking out of the veterinary clinic next to the studio, then huddle in the doorway when thunder rumbled overhead.
‘Not a great time to go home.’ he said.
She saw him and looked up. ‘Not really, no.’
Gary hurried over to her doorway. ‘Finished work?’
She nodded. ‘Yes. Thought I could go home before the storm started.’
‘Yeah..’ he said, watching the street again. ‘I hadn’t checked on the weather. Got taken by surprise.’
She chuckled, then held herself when lightning flashed across the sky. Gary watched her, moved a little closer and got an idea when he smelled pizza. ‘Care for a bite to eat while we wait for the storm to pass?’
She looked up. ‘Eat?’
‘Pizza?’ he asked, gesturing at the restaurant next door. ‘My treat.’
‘Or something else?’
She looked up at the sky while the storm did its thing again, then glanced at him and smiled a little. ‘Okay.’ she said. ‘Don’t mind it when I can avoid this thunder storm.’
He chuckled. ‘Let’s go then.’ he said.
They hurried into the restaurant and sat down at a table after ordering. ‘Thanks.’ she said after a sip from their wine.
‘No problem, I started to get hungry too.’ he said, watching the owner construct their order.
She smiled softly. ‘I meant for keeping me company during this storm.’
‘Ohhh. That.’ he said, casually looking in his glass.
She chuckled. ‘Yes, that.’
‘I just thought I’d help a neighbour out while improving my dinner time.’ he said with a slight grin.
She smiled and sipped more wine.
The thunderstorm took longer than expected and it was already dark when Suzy and Gary walked from the restaurant to their home.
‘Pizza was good.’ Suzy said when they had arrived at their floor.
‘Company was better.’ said Gary with a chuckle.
She chuckled, then rubbed her arm slowly. ‘Thanks again for the save.’ she said with a gentle smile.
‘No problem.’ he said, rubbing the back of his head. ‘We can do this again when it storms again?’
She nodded. ‘When you’re in the neighbourhood.’ she said and pulled her keys from her pocket. ‘It has made me pretty tired though.’
‘I can imagine.’ he said. ‘I’m thinking about going to bed early too. Lots of things on my mind today.’ He gestured at his door. ‘I’ll see you later then. Have a good night.’
‘You too, Gary.’ she said, getting in her door. ‘Later.’
‘Later, Suzy.’ he said and went into his own apartment, pulled off his coat and shirt quickly and rubbed his arms, itching from the growing hair. ‘Crap.’ he said and undressed quickly while losing his sight slowly.
‘And crap again.’ he said when he tasted grass again. He sighed, heard a noise behind him and looked back in time to see the wolf running at him, her fangs bared.
He bleated in fear as he rolled over and she pounced him, growling softly.
‘Wait!’ he bleated. ‘It’s me!’
She growled more, her teeth getting closer to his face.
‘It’s me! Gary! Remember that thunderstorm!?’
She stopped growling, then blinked.
‘Gary?’ he said. ‘In the hut last night? Together?’
She pulled back a little.
‘You remember now?’
She looked away.
‘I’m glad you do.’ he said, sitting up. ‘You do remember, right?’
She nodded once and sat back.
He let out a deep sigh in relief. ‘Tha-ank goodne-ess.’ he said and frowned. ‘Oh grea-eat.’ She tilted her head as she looked at him. He pointed at himself, cleared his throat and concentrated. ‘The sheep, accent.’ She gave him a nod. ‘You can’t, speak?’ he asked and she shook her head.
Gary felt a couple of raindrops fall on his nose and looked up. ‘Starting to, rain again.’ he said and looked toward the playground. ‘Let’s, take shelter, there again.’
The wolf nodded and they hurried to the hut while rain started coming down more. They shook their bodies and sat down at opposite sides.
‘So,’ Gary started. ‘who, are you, really? What’s your, name?’
She shook her head.
‘You don’t, remember?’
She shook her head again.
‘Are you like, me, transforming in the, night?’
She frowned for a moment looking up, then nodded slowly.
‘But you, don’t know who you, really are?’
She nodded slowly again.
‘Da-amn.’ he said and cleared his throat. ‘At least, I do, most of the, time.’
She looked through the window at the rain coming down and listened to the ruffle on the roof of the hut. Gary watched her and thought about any way he could help her.
‘I, wonder if you remember, anything as a, human.’ he said.
She tilted her head and shrugged.
‘Probably not.’ he said. ‘Or, maybe not a lot.’
They sat in silence while the rain kept coming down. Gary looked outside at one of the streets surrounding the park, lights from shops and street lights reflecting in the surface.
‘What do you, do at night?’ he asked, turning back to her.
She shrugged and gestured with one hand around her, then held up both in a pounce.
‘So you, go around, and hunt things?’ he asked. ‘Like, what?’
She looked at him for a moment, then grinned her teeth at him.
A chill ran down his spine and he pushed himself back against the wall, swallowing.
She chuckled and gave him a smirk.
Gary let out a deep sigh and relaxed more. ‘Don’t sca-are me like tha-at.’ he said and she chuckled even more. He shook his head. ‘Have you caught, anything?’
She pointed at him and he raised his eyebrows.
‘Really?’ he asked. ‘Only me?’
‘Wow.’ he said and leaned on his knees with his arms and chin upon them. ‘That’s not much, but I’m, glad no, animals or others got hurt.’
She pulled up her knees and hugged them, wrapping her tail around her feet and flattening her ears.
‘I don’t, mean to say you would.’ he said, leaning closer. ‘It’s just, that the usual image of, werewolves is a scary one.’
She gestured at herself, then a pounce at him.
He nodded. ‘Yeah, you, scared me, but now, that I know a bit more, about you it’s okay.’ he said and gave her a gentle smile. ‘I’d like us to, be friends.’
She looked at him and her ears perked up as she nodded and smiled.
‘Okay then.’ he said and held out his hand to her. ‘Friends.’
She took his hand and shook it.
The rain had stopped and Gary had invited the wolf for a stroll around the park to stretch their legs.
‘I, always enjoyed the, smell of a field of, grass after rain.’ he said after his stomach started to rumble. ‘Never thought it would, make me hungry.’
She chuckled but then her stomach rumbled too. She looked at Gary and he backed away one step.
‘Friends, remember?’ he asked.
She chuckled and nodded.
He let out a little sigh but kept an eye on her as they continued their walk, just to be sure.
‘How about, having a bite, at my place?’ he asked. ‘I, have some, beef at home.’
She bit her lip and looked down.
‘It’s okay.’ he said with a little smile at her. ‘I can’t, let a friend, be hungry.’
She gave a small nod and he smiled. ‘Okay then. Let’s go.’
Gary and the wolf tried to move silently through the hallway when the bald neighbour opened the door, looking like he wanted to go outside.
He stared at Gary and the wolf and she growled softly at him.
Gary took her hand in his. ‘This is just the, effect of, stress at work.’ he said. ‘You should, take a few, days off.’
The neighbour nodded slowly and backed away, closing the door.
Gary led the wolf into his own apartment and started working in the kitchen while she sat in the living room. He was glad the whole being a weresheep thing hadn’t ruined his appetite for a good piece of meat and made them two juicy pieces of grilled beef with bread.
‘Here we go.’ he said as he walked into the living room with two plates, then bleated when the wolf nearly pounced him.
She backed off with some effort, licking her lips.
‘I guess the sme-ell has gotten you e-even more hungry.’ he said.
She looked down and nodded.
He handed her the plate. ‘I can imagine how you, feel.’ he said. ‘I felt it, when I, smelled grass in this form.’
He sat down next to her and saw her stare at the beef, her hands shaking slightly. ‘Don’t hold back, just, enjoy it.’ he said and cut his own piece.
She smiled and cut the meat in big pieces, eating them eagerly and he chuckled.
After the meal Gary felt tired and saw the wolf yawn when he came out of the kitchen. ‘Do you know, where you live?’ he asked.
She frowned in thought, then shook her head slowly.
He looked at his couch. ‘If you, want, you can, sleep on the couch.’
Her ears perked up.
‘It would be rude to, send you out the door, when you don’t know where to go.’
She looked up at him, smiling softly.
‘I’ll get you, a blanket and pillow.’ he said and went into his bedroom.
He made sure she had everything she needed before retiring to his bedroom, letting her get comfortable and fall asleep with a smile on her face.
An hour later Gary still couldn’t sleep from the constant thoughts of having a woman staying the night, on top of her being a wolf and him being a sheep and no guarantee she wouldn’t get hungry and eat him in his sleep.